If you’re planning on buying or selling a used something-or-other off the internet anytime soon, be careful.  You could (literally!) end up robbed at gunpoint.

Technology is amazing. It allows you to do almost anything. Apps make it easier than ever to buy and sell stuff in a matter of minutes.  Whether you want to make quick money off stuff you don’t want anymore or find affordable used stuff you do need. If you’re looking for hard-to-find items or collectibles, chances are you’ll only find them online. And probably from a private seller.

And these days, you can pinpoint your ad to only reach folks within 10 miles. Who wouldn’t want to skip paying postage and sell to someone right down the street?

Don’t Set Yourself Up for A Loss … or Worse

So … you find a great deal online.  You set up an exchange. You get an address from the seller, plug it into your phone and off you go… with a big old wad of cash in your pocket.

Okay, let’s review that. You’re on your way – either alone or maybe with one other person – to meet a stranger you messaged once on some app you downloaded yesterday? … with a substantial amount of money on you? Which they know you’ll have? In cash?

WATCH: How would a SafetyPIN help?

What could possibly go wrong?

Online Transactions Can Be Dangerous … Even Deadly

In 2017 in a town outside of Philadelphia, police logged about 28 robberies involving online scams. 25 of them were armed!

robbed at gunpoint.

Earlier this month, a man in St. Louis was robbed. He showed up with $250 cash to buy a video game from someone off Facebook Marketplace… and that someone showed up with a gun.

This new report from the Consumer Federation of America shows that – more and more – starting a sale online can end with an in-person robbery.

But not when there’s a SafetyPIN…

Weed Out Potential Danger by Asking for a SafetyPIN

Robbery and assault with a deadly weapon are serious crimes. If you meet up with someone crazy enough to pull a gun, we probably don’t need to point out that you’re in a very dangerous situation. And armed robbery is only one wrong move away from being a homicide.

But someone who would set you up to rob you, wouldn’t make it through SafetyPIN’s proprietary 4-pronged screening.

It’s Simple: No SafetyPIN, No Deal

It may seem like overkill to ask for a SafetyPIN before you buy a Big Wheel for your kids. But it isn’t worth the risk not to …

Just promise yourself that you won’t meet anyone – especially with cash – if that person doesn’t have a SafetyPIN. Full stop. End of story. Put it on your list of online commandments. Your life is more important than a really good price on a used X-Box.

Some of these sell-your-stuff apps suggest you meet in crowded public places. Or well-lit lots with working cameras. We don’t know about you, but we don’t know how to tell what security cameras are actually working in public lots or whether someone might follow you…

And you really can’t meet in public if you’re buying a bigger item. C,mon, you’re not really going to drag that sectional couch to the grocery store parking lot or haul a piano to the center of town. Certain things you buy online require you to break the “no public places” rule.

We get that it can be a hurdle to ask someone to get a SafetyPIN before you’ll buy their armoire. But a SafetyPIN costs $1 to apply, and your monthly membership is less than one cup of good coffee. In fact, the first 6 months it’s only $1 a month. So anyone who regularly does business on the internet should be happy to invest in one – since it will help their profile stand out and help them get the sale.

Watch this short video to learn more about how asking for a SafetyPIN can keep you safer: